Via Jim Hoft, a moment of brilliance from Chris Wallace entirely flummoxes the Secretary of the Treasury yesterday on Fox News Sunday. Wallace challenges Tim Geithner on the lack of real spending cuts in the proposal he brought to Capitol Hill last week, and Geithner objects, claiming that the White House has trillions in cuts in their proposal — from ending the wars. When Wallace reminds Geithner that no one planned to keep fighting those wars in the first place, Geithner loses his composure and starts complaining about Republican gimmicks:
WALLACE: Or they now say because you’re not willing to cut spending enough.
GEITHNER: No, but that’s not true. Again, if they want to do more on the spending side than the $600 billion we proposed on top of the trillion already enacted, in top of the savings from the wars, then they can tell us how they propose —
WALLACE: Savings in the wars that we were never going to fight?
GEITHNER: No, that’s not true. We’re — as you know, we’re winding down two wars.
WALLACE: I understand that.
WALLACE: And you are thinking savings that nobody thought that you were going to spend that money any way. It’s a budget gimmick, sir.
GEITHNER: No, that’s not right. You know, let me say it this way, those were expensive wars, not just in Americans lives but in terms of the taxpayers’ resources. And when you end them as the president is doing, they reduce our long term deficits and like in the Republican budget proposals, the world should reflect and recognize what that does in savings.
And we propose to use those savings to reduce the deficits and help invest in rebuilding America. We think that makes a lot of sense.
WALLACE: But it was money that wasn’t going to be spent anyway, and —
GEITHNER: If those wars have gone on, they would be spent.
WALLACE: I understand. But you’re not saving — you’re not ending the wars for budget purposes. You’re ending the wars because of a foreign policy decision. The wars weren’t going to be fought. You’re not really saving money.
GEITHNER: Chris, we all agree —
WALLACE: I mean, it’s a budget gimmick, but it’s money never intended to spend.
GEITHNER: No, it’s not a budget gimmick unless you are — when Republicans propose, it’s a budget gimmick?
WALLACE: Sure, absolutely.
GEITHNER: And you should address that to them. But what it does is —
WALLACE: Well — so, I’m addressing it to you.
Why don’t we count the $200 billion we’ll save by not invading Honduras, too? Hey, we can not invade Canada and save a couple of trillion dollars. If we really want to cut spending, let’s not invade China! We can save eleventy-zillion dollars that way.
In other Geithner gimmick news, he insisted that there wouldn’t be a fiscal-cliff deal without tax hikes:
Actually, I think that’s probably true — but Republicans in the House aren’t going to pass tax hikes without substantial spending cuts and entitlement reform either, Mr. Secretary. Better go back to the drawing board.